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Printed and manuscript maps, prints and views of 22 seventeenth-century wars

? Tavernier, Melchior, fl. 1649

Siege of Castro, 1649

Disegno della Citta di Castro assediata dal esercito Ecclesiastico / et Resa sotto li 2∙ di Settembre ∙ 1649 ∙ 1649 or later

Etching and engraving; printed on paper; mounted on paper (Mount Type B); gilt edges right and bottom | 35.1 x 48.1 cm (image) | RCIN 723089

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A high oblique view of the town of Castro besieged by forces of the Papal army, commanded by the Italian General Luigi Mattei (d.1675) , and defended by Ranuccio II Farnese, Duke of Parma (17 September 1630-11 December 1694), resulting in the destruction of the town by order of the Pope on 2 September 1649. Second War of Castro (1649)

The fortified town of Castro was razed to the ground after this siege and exists, today, only as ruins buried in a wooded landscape some three or four km west of Farnese (the print shows, top left, the 'Strada che uiene da farnese'). The River Olpeta, shown but not named in this print (but named in RCIN 723009) winds around the site. The text on the print describes the strong natural defences of the town which were formed by the river cliffs.

The etcher, Melchior Tavernier, has here signed himself 'Pataviæ', in other words, as 'of Patavia'. The Latin name Patavia applied to at least two places; one was Passau, in Bavaria, and another was Padua in northern Italy. It could also be a corrupt form of Batavia which was the old name given by the Romans to the area around Nijmegen but its use spread to include a larger area of the the Netherlands (hence, in 1798, the short-lived change of name from the Dutch Republic to the Batavian Republic') If the Melchior Tavernier of this print is the same man as the famous cartographer (1595-1665), then his use of the name Batavia (albeit spelled with a 'P') may be a nod to the fact that he was born in Antwerp which fell roughly within old Batavia. It may, of course, be a different Melchior Tavernier.

  • ? Melchiore Tavernier, fl. 1649 (etcher)

    Francesco Antonelli (active 1649) (dedicator) [bottom right, at end of dedication:] Humil.o et / Franc.o Antonelli Ten: Gen: del Artigliaria

  • Watermark: View: anchor and the letters L M in a circle, six-pointed star above. Mount: none.

    Condition: four fold lines; ink stains. Verso: surface dirt


  • 35.1 x 48.1 cm (image)

    cropped (platemark)

    31.3 x 48.1 cm (neatline)

    35.7 x 49.0 cm (sheet)

    40.6 x 52.3 cm (mount)

  • Printed title:

    Disegno della Citta di Castro assediata dal esercito Ecclesiastico / et Resa sotto li 2 · di Settembre · 1649 · [top right]


    [bottom right, below the arms, possibly of Count David Vidman:] All Il:mo Sig,re Prōn Mio il Sig. / Conte Dauid Vidman / Sargente Gener. di Battaglia, e Comandante / Dell' Esercito Pontificio, sotto la Citta di Castro … questo piccol tributo dell' animo mio humilissimamente la / riuerisco di Castro 7. Settembre. 1649 … 

    Additional text:

    [top right, below title:] Il sito della Città naturalmente, et per arte, è fortissimo perche da una parte / pass l'Olpida fiume con ripe inaccessibili dall altra ha una ualle che si unisce / alla fine della Citta con balze e dirupati pure inaccessibili onde non e sotto posta a gl' / assalti che da una parte sola non piu larga di · 150 · passi andanti fortificata / con grossissime muraglie, da un maschio, da un Torrione, e Torrioncelli, et / una Tanaglia, con un forte fabricato alla Reale, come il tutto meglio / apparisce et si dichiara dalle aggiunte annotationi


    George III heading: Castro 2 September 1649.

    Other annotations: (Recto) [top, right of centre, black pencil, erased:] taken by the Pope’s troops; [top left, black pencil, erased: the old heading]; [bottom right, black pencil:] 1649. (Verso) [top left, black pencil:] III/1[4].

    George III catalogue entry:

    Castro Disegno della Citta di Castro assediata dal Esercito Ecclesastico e resa li 2 di Settembre 1649: da Franc. Antonelli.

  • From the collection of Cassiano dal Pozzo (1588-22 October 1657); inherited by his brother, Carlo Antonio dal Pozzo (1606-1689); sold by Carlo Antonio’s grandson to Clement XI, 1703; acquired by Cardinal Alessandro Albani by 1714, from whom purchased by George III in 1762

  • Subject(s)

    Castro, Lazio, Italy (42°31ʹ58ʺN 11°38ʹ55ʺE)

  • Bibliographic reference(s)

    Mark McDonald, The Print Collection of Cassiano dal Pozzo. Part II, Architecture, Topography and Military Maps, 3 vols, London 2019, cat. no. 3209

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